Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris on Saturday repeatedly defended her response to a rallygoer calling President Donald Trump’s actions “mentally retarded” at a campaign event, saying that she didn’t hear the slur.
As Harris addressed a crowd of voters at a town hall in New Hampshire on Friday, an attendee brought up Trump’s potential impeachment before asking Harris, “What are you going to do in the next one year, to diminish the mentally retarded actions” of the president.
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The California senator drew ire from disability rights activists when she appeared to laugh at the remark, responding, “Well said.”
“When my staff played the video from my town hall yesterday, it was upsetting. I didn’t hear the words the man used in that moment, but if I had I would’ve stopped and corrected him. I’m sorry. That word and others like it aren’t acceptable. Ever,” Harris wrote on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
“Let me just be really clear. I would never condone that kind of language being spoken by anybody about anybody,” Harris said at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on Saturday when asked about the incident by an NBC News reporter. “It is offensive. I have worked my entire career to do a number of things including insure our disability community the dignity and rights that they deserve.”
“I would never condone anyone using that word in any way shape or form, even against the guy I am running against. Period,” Harris continued.
Earlier on Saturday, Harris told Caitlin Huey-Burns of CBS that she had not “processed” that particular line.
“I heard him talk about the other stuff. And then that came later. And it was not something that I really heard or processed,” Harris said.